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Want to be healthy? Don’t follow the crowd


A breakfast cereal shocker W hen was the last time you gave your kids a
A breakfast cereal
W hen was the last
time you gave your
kids a small bowl
of sugar for break-
fast? Or yourself? Probably
today, if you had a cup of Honey
Smacks, Golden Crisps, Cap’n
Crunch or even healthy-sounding
Quaker Oats Oh’s. All have 3 to 5
teaspoons of sugar per cup.
OK, we YOU Docs know it’s
hardly news that kids’ cere-
als are loaded with sugar, but
— healthy, tasty, 100 percent
whole-grain cereals that kids
will eat and you can buy at any
grocery store. Oatmeal is the
obvious choice. (Just skip fla-
vored instant types; they’re
sugar fiestas, too.) And there
are other good-morning choices
that meet both federal guidelines
and ours, which are tougher:
this much? (To see the full list,
go to, home site of the
Environmental Working Group,
which — insert applause —
sugar-rated 84 cereals.) If you
weighed out 8 ounces of many
kids’ cereals on a kitchen scale,
a third to half the weight
Cheerios, Mini-Wheats, Shred-
ded Wheat, Grape-Nuts Flakes
and, somewhat surprisingly, Kix.
Add bananas, berries, raisins,
walnuts, diced apples, almonds
it’s all good.
Bonus: Eating fiber in the
morning — fruit and 100 percent
whole-grain cereals are full of it
— curbs hunger later. That helps
keep kids slim. You, too.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of
“The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen
would be sugar. Adding ing
that much sugar to any any
food, especially to chil chil- -
dren’s breakfasts, oughta ugh ta
be a punishable crime. Food
makers are condemning
kids to health prob-
lems and the country ry
to higher health costs. ts.
Yes, your cereal picks ks
are that important.
There were some winners inn ers
g of of Cleveland Cleveland Clinic, Clinic, are are authors authors of of “YOU: “YOU:
of of Cleveland Cleveland Clinic, Clinic, are are authors authors of of
“YOU: “YOU: Losing Losing Weight.” Weight.” For For more more
information information go go to to
Food ng
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story: tor y:

By Lavinia Rodriguez

Tampa Bay Times

Just because you’re striving for health and fitness doesn’t mean those around you are — even if they are constantly talking about weight and diets. As with so many other things, those who talk the most about weight often are doing the least about it. But it’s hard to be the only per- son you know staying focused on health, given that our society has such high rates of obesity, eating disorders, sedentary behavior and an abundance of poor food choices. How do you eat well when oth- ers aren’t doing the same? Try to focus on some areas that are noto- rious for tripping up even the best of intentions:

Thoughts and


Imagine you’re at lunch with friends. As everyone’s ordering chimichangas with cheese, you may think about how unfair it is that you have to be on a diet. From there, it’s a short slide down the slippery slope to ordering whatever you want and vowing to start your diet again tomorrow. What if you really listened to yourself instead of reaching for the automatic response? Start listening for sabotaging thoughts that lead to compromising your goals. Try this script: “I don’t want to eat all that colorless food that does nothing for me. It might taste good but I’m sure I can find something that tastes good and will keep me on track.” Defaulting to the “eat what you want’’ response is not unusual at all. As we grow up, we get many of our beliefs about appropriate behav- ior from parents, teachers, peers and society. These can be subtle patterns that don’t even get much conscious thought. Maybe you believe that you must eat if everyone else is eating, even if you’re not hungry. Or you may believe that if you invite friends over to your home, you must pro- vide the usual array of fattening

your home, you must pro- vide the usual array of fattening THINKSTOCK When ordering with a


When ordering with a group at a restaurant, don’t follow the crowd and eat unhealthy food. Stick to your diet plan and order what works for you.

foods, even though you’d rather not eat them. In both cases, if you follow your long-held expectations, you’re set- ting yourself up to eat poorly. Ask yourself if your expectations are based on beliefs that aren’t logi- cal and prevent success. If so, it’s time to challenge them. Maybe you don’t have to eat what everyone else is eating. Maybe you can even suggest different restaurants that have the kinds of healthy foods you want to eat.

Alcohol and inhibitions

Alcohol is part of many social gatherings. And most people know that calories from alcohol can get in the way of weight-loss success. But the bigger problem with alco- hol is how it affects behavior. With alcohol in your system, intentions to eat with restraint at a social gather- ing can easily fly out the window. You might not have drunk enough to have a hangover the next morning, but you’ll hang your head in disappointment at the thought of what you ate the night before. So, if you can stay away from alcohol altogether, do it. Otherwise, try to hold off until after dinner, and savor a single glass of wine on its own. Or be sure to drink a full glass of water in between adult beverages. Consider what’s more important to you: Drinking, or successfully

managing your weight?

Placing priorities

The mind is controlled more by the thought of immediate rewards (the hot wings in front of you) than rewards that seem far away (a healthier and shapelier body a year from now). But we can combat the power of immediate temptations by using simple mind tricks. Remind yourself of your priori- ties at every turn and in every way possible. Write yourself a new script and read it often, perhaps some- thing like: “I want good, healthy flavors, textures and colors with my meal tonight. It makes no difference what others are eating. I want to feel satisfied, not stuffed, and I want to sleep comfortably. I really like eating better, and each time I do, I’m head- ing toward that fit and healthy body I want to have throughout my life.” You can’t always follow the crowd if you want to consistently follow a healthy route. Long after those hot wings and chimichangas are just greasy memories, you’ll thank your- self for declaring independence.

Lavinia Rodriguez, Ph.D., is a Tampa, Fla., psychologist and expert in weight management. She is the author of “Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Barriers to Weight Management.” She can be reached through her website: Fat-

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